Rafael Nadal has consistently gotten the better of Roger Federer.There have been plenty of upsets at the Australian Open this year, but the result is that tennis fans will get to see a classic matchup between two all-time greats when Roger Federer takes on Rafael Nadal in the second men’s semifinal. Here are four things you need to know about tonight’s match.
History favors Nadal
Andy Murray and Nadal are the only active players to have a winning record against Federer, among those who played him multiple times. Though Murray’s edge is slim at 11 wins to 10, Nadal has dominated Federer by winning 22 of 32 meetings.
This will be the 11th meeting between the two at a Grand Slam, tied for the most in the Open era (Federer and Nadal have each played Novak Djokovic 11 times as well). Nadal has eight wins against Federer in those 10 previous Grand Slam matches, winning each of their past five meetings on the big stage.
Federer’s drought-ending recipe?
Federer has gone five Grand Slams without winning a title. Since winning his first Grand Slam at Wimbledon in 2003, the only longer Grand Slam title drought he has suffered through was nine straight from the 2010 French Open to the 2012 French Open.
Federer ended that skid by winning the 2012 Wimbledon title when he knocked off the No. 1 seed in Djokovic and also beat Murray along the way.
It could be a little deja vu for Fed since he has already topped Murray and is now facing the No. 1 seed in Nadal.
One storyline that can’t be overlooked is the blister on Nadal’s hand that he has gotten treatment for the past couple of matches.
In the quarterfinals against Grigor Dimitrov, Nadal committed seven double faults, four more than in his previous four matches combined.
Even more concerning than the increase in double faults by Nadal was a significant velocity drop on his first serves. During his first four matches, Nadal’s average first serve speed ranged between 111 and 115 mph. Against Dimitrov he averaged 104 mph.
Who is currently playing better?
Both Federer and Nadal have dropped only one set this tournament. However Nadal has played two fewer as the result of his first-round opponent Bernard Tomic withdrawing after one set.
Nadal & Federer
Australian Open 2014
Nadal has been the more accurate server, putting in 71 percent of first serves, but Federer has the better winners-to-errors ratio.
The chart on the right offers a complete run through of their numbers throughout this tournament.
So what does it all mean? Tune in at 3:30 a.m. ET to find out.